Since you have a computer and are using it to capture images, you can also use it with planetarium software to add, replace, or enhance your mount control and GoTo capabilities. This software will also show the sky as it is, targets nearby, and more or less comprehensive information about the target. Examples of this software include Cartes du Ciel, Sky Safari, Starry Night Pro, Stellarium, and more.
- Cartes du Ciel
- Link to site: SkyChart / Cartes du Ciel (ap-i.net) https://www.ap-i.net…chart//en/start
- Cartes du Ciel is a comprehensive planetarium software package that takes its name for a vast international project at the end of the 19th century to map and catalog millions of stars in the sky. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the project.
- Cartes du Ciel is a widely-used planetarium software, out of France, developed by Patrick Chevalley. It is freeware and runs in Linux, MacOS, and Windows environments. Its recommended hardware is much less that that needed for live stacking. It can replace the GoTo functions of a handset and changes the mount control process from ‘picking from a menu’ to ‘all-you-can-eat buffet’, to use a restaurant analogy. It provides basic information on size and brightness of targets, and can connect to many catalogs to find less common targets.
- There are also many customizable features, such as blocking out obstructed areas of the horizon and custom annotation.
- Starry Night Pro (and Starry Night Pro Plus)
- Link to site: Starry Night Pro https://starrynight.com/
- With literally one million realistic stars, Starry Night Pro has been described as the powerhouse planetarium software for professionals and amateurs alike. Astronomy and Space Magazine writes, “In its screen representation of the night sky, it is without peer.” Literally hundreds of thousands of users have embraced Starry Night Pro as their software of choice.
- SNP has full telescope control, solutions for taking notes (observing logs), pasting images in the sky, and a lot more. Open GL graphics render the sky in remarkably beautiful form. On top of all this, it links with LiveSky.com to back up all your equipment, observations, observing sessions, equipment, and more. And because the smartphone/tablet app, Sky Safari Pro, also links with LiveSky.com whatever you save with on application is instantly available in the other one. There are audio descriptions of hundreds of objects plus, if users upgrade to Starry Night Pro Plus, they’ll receive an All-Sky mosaic that is unmatched in any other software on the market.
- Sky Safari
- Sky Safari, an iOS app, is mainly used on iPhones and iPads. However, it is also available for Android and the Android version can be used in tablet mode on Windows PCs in Bluestacks (an emulation program) and via Alpaca. (More on this later.)
- Sky Safari is an amazing product with outstanding capabilities for searching, observing, and even controlling one’s telescope wirelessly.
- Stellarium is an open source (freeware) application. It wields an incredible amount of power for an amazing price: zero.
- Through an extension, it can also provide telescope control.
- Other applications
- There are other applications containing planetarium components, including The Sky, Nina, and even Astro-Planner. But perhaps none of these other applications would present themselves as true planetarium software. Rather, they would probably describe themselves as having components of star-charting software.